Navigant Research’s recently published report on water management in intelligent buildings explores the opportunities and challenges related to deploying water management technologies and services in the intelligent building.
What Are Intelligent Buildings?
As shown in the diagram on the right, intelligent buildings are part of an increasingly integrated smart ecosystem that is transforming cities around the globe. The intelligent building has two key characteristics:
- Connectedness: Communications between building appliances & systems and a centralized management platform are central to intelligent buildings. This field is being enhanced even further with the emergence of a Building Internet of Things (BIoT). Buildings are also becoming cloud connected as an essential part of smart grids and smart cities.
- Efficiency: The intelligent connectivity platform allows optimal control of building systems for optimal energy use and occupant comfort.
Growing Awareness of the Importance of Smart Water Management in Intelligent Buildings
Until recently intelligent building technologies focused more on energy efficiency despite the fact that water efficiency has always been one of the five main categories for US Green Building Council’s LEED certification.
But the times are changing. An Ecova survey conducted in early 2015 of over 500 energy, facility, finance and sustainability professionals indicated that, year over year, water is being increasingly viewed as an important opportunity for intelligent building savings and improvement.
This trend is being driven by analyst predictions of significant water cost increases in coming years due to growing water shortages and continued infrastructure investments needed to maintain water and wastewater treatment facilities. Other drivers include ever-growing shareholder and end-user demands for greater intelligent building sustainability, as well as regulatory measures being put in place to deal with drought and other extreme weather challenges.
Investors understand the opportunity
Navigant Research forecasts that global investment in smart water management solutions for intelligent buildings will grow from ~$2 billion in 2016 to ~$2.9 billion in 2025. In particular, the intelligent building sector is looking for innovations in irrigation management, water-efficient plumbing, and leak detection and water management.
In this era of big data, the smart water meters and MDM systems that water utilities use today on an urban or regional scale can be adapted to provide the highly precise water monitoring and management required by intelligent buildings. It is, indeed, an exciting time for smart water management solutions.
 Navigant Research, Water Management in Intelligent Buildings, March 8, 2016
 Matias, Peluffo, Defining Today’s Intelligent Building, May 27, 2015
 Intelligent Buildings: Understanding and managing the security risks, The Institution of Engineering and Technology
 Jim Sinopoli, Diving into Building Water Management, April 2009